The inaugural Launching Leaders awards were presented at the Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy on Friday, by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who since retirement from football has written books and given talks on leadership.
After managing Aberdeen and the Scottish national team, Ferguson won thirteen League titles and two European Cups with Manchester United, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest managers of all time.
In his speech, he talked of his difficulties of managing an incredibly successful group of people, and how he has approached management.
“In all the years [in management] my door was always open, to anyone who came for advice and I think that is a really important part that you have to give away” he told the audience, noting that “you don’t expect anything back, because you’re the leader”.
The awards — founded by Professor Brian Grim of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation — are the first of their kind, combining business and leadership teaching with interfaith dialogue.
Participants in the twelve-week programme took part in workshops, talks and online modules that aim to aid personal development and integrate their religious beliefs with decision making.
Launching Leaders is part of the Empowerment+ programme, and included those of Catholic, Muslim and Mormon faiths.
Professor Grim’s uses his research findings to argue that there is a correlation between religious freedom and economic output, and that promoting dialogue between faiths can increase productivity.
Also, speaking on the reasons why they chose Manchester as the pilot venue for the new interfaith programme, Grim said that: “This really is the place where the innovation and the driving spirits and the diversity is coming and where great champions like Manchester United come from”.